Akseli Lehtonen: Building a Commerce Platform for Non-ownership-Based Business Models (Renting, Subscriptions, Product-as-A-service)

Rentle is building a commerce platform for non-ownership-based business models (renting, subscriptions, product-as-a-service). With Rentle, any company can make any item in their inventory available for rent without a hassle, whether or not they have previous experience in circular business models. With the available software which are designed for selling ownership (linear commerce), launching and scaling nonlinear business models is very cumbersome. The lack of proper technology and solutions for nonlinear commerce has up to this date hindered the shift towards more sustainable consumption of durable goods in a bigger scale.

Our mission is to accelerate sustainable consumption of durable goods globally. The demand for consuming products on on-demand basis already exists. Our job is to provide the software and technological infrastructure for nonlinear-commerce so businesses can start building the supply and fulfilling the changing consumer preferences driven by convenience and sustainability.

Tell us about yourself?

I was Rentle’s second employee and I’m in charge of Rentle’s marketing and customer acquisition. I have a degree in marketing and business strategy and background working at agencies and in-house marketing roles. I enjoy working with numbers and playing strategy games, and in a SaaS marketing role I get to do both. That combined with an ambitious mission to impact the world is why I have ended up at Rentle.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

We are in the business of changing the way we consume durable goods. It’s an undisputed fact that the current commercial models are not sustainable in the long-term. At Rentle, we are determined to drive the change by:

– Providing businesses with groundbreaking software to power circular business models.
– Empowering consumers to have better experiences and more convenience through access compared to ownership.
– Grow the market by increasing quality and durability of manufactured goods, while minimising global extraction and maximising local recycling of material.

What is your magic sauce?

Design, design and design. The ease of use and making complex operations feel smooth and simple during the day-to-day work are essential when we’re talking about a commerce platform used to run companies. Everything from onboarding to using the software in day-to-day should be a breeze. You can always add new features over time but design is subtle and delicate process that you can’t change for better over night.

Where do you see your company going in 5 years time?

In five years people around the world can consume durable goods on on-demand basis and it feels normal. It’s mainstream that people buy, for example, decor-as-a-service and subscribe to their furniture. Of course, we see Rentle in the forefront driving the change.

What has been your biggest setback so far?

Every setback has a silver lining. For us it was the outbreak of the global pandemic because in 2019 we were still strongly focused on recreational rental industry which relies on tourism. However, that forced us to take a step towards a more generic commerce platform that’s still specific enough to cater the needs of several different industries. Today we have customers renting anything from skis and bikes to trailers and leaf blowers.

What is the next big challenge for your business?

Competition for top talent is the main bottleneck in the technology sector and Rentle is not an exception. Software development requires resources and I have never heard anyone complaining about having too much of resources.

How do people get involved/buy into your vision?

Are you Interested in Rentle’s mission or starting a rental business? You can reach out to us directly or sign-up for free through our website.

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